Michelin Sole Tire Supplier for Space Shuttle Program
GREENVILLE, S.C. (July 21, 2011) – The space shuttle Atlantis touched down for the last time today, landing once again on MICHELIN® tires. Michelin has been manufacturing
the space shuttle tires at its Norwood, N.C., aviation tire plant.
"It was a proud moment for Michelin and NASA to watch the close of the space shuttle era," said Ron Olds, vice president of sales for Michelin Aircraft Tires. "The final landing closed a 30-year chapter in American history that showcased some of the greatest technological advancements spurred on by the American spirit. Every aspect of the shuttle program - down to the tires designed to dependably return the spacecraft safely to earth - is a tribute to the American 'can do' attitude."
The tires for the space shuttle undergo extreme conditions - from landing at speeds up to 288 mph to carrying loads as much as three times that of a Boeing 747 tire, which is the equivalent of a 40-car starting line-up at a NASCAR race.
The tires weigh approximately 230 pounds and each tire takes approximately six hours to build. The space shuttle takes six tires - four main-landing gear and two nose-landing gear tires - to land. The shuttle tires are inflated up to 373 psi and use nitrogen, which best maintains pressure in varying altitudes and extreme temperatures.
About Michelin North America
Michelin, the leading mobility company, is dedicated to enhancing its clients’ mobility, sustainably; designing and distributing the most suitable tires, services and solutions for its clients’ needs; providing digital services, maps and guides to help enrich trips and travels and make them unique experiences; and developing high-technology materials that serve a variety of industries. Headquartered in Greenville, S.C., Michelin North America (www.michelinman.com) has more than 21,400 employees and operates 19 major manufacturing plants.